The scene at the meeting

Public meeting about the new development at Mendip View

Residents attended a public meeting in Axbridge Town Hall on Monday, January 13, to hear a presentation for developing the old blackberry shop and land on Cheddar Road at Mendip View.

The presentation by Stonewater housing association was to illustrate how the construction of new homes would look like following its approval of by Sedgemoor District Council for outline planning permission in 2018 of up to 20 homes.

The meeting was attended by around 40 people including Sedgemoor officials such as Duncan Harvey and town councillors. After a brief outline using slides to show the layout questions were taken from the public and councillors. The main question raised was over the lack of one bedroom homes which came from Cllr Barbara Wells. Development Officer Deb Jull, and Georgina Martine of Yeovil architects Boon Brown said they would take on board the point to the next stage of the plans.

Google map of the area

They also explained some of the details including the provision of parking which some questioners such as Priscilla Chard felt was inadequate and of the boundary hedge by the footpath which they said could not be moved. Cllr Barbara Wells said a letter had been received from the current owners about the hedge boundary.

The affordable homes would be 50% rented and 50% shared ownership the residents were told but their question of what was considered affordable went unanswered. (Zoopla currently value a three bedroom house on Knightstone Close in the town at £211,000 although this is not a guide.) Previously the Burnham and Highbridge News reported that: “The Axbridge development at Meadow View will cost £4.8M,of which around £4.5M will come from Stonewater itself, Homes England and other forms of subsidy or inward investment. The remaining £300,000 is being given by the council as a grant, on the understanding that every home within the development will be genuinely affordable to local residents.”

Rented properties cannot be sub-let the residents were told following a question of someone working away for a long period. The homes are of a semi-traditional type as they are out of the town centre in an area of mixed styles.

District councillor for Axevale Graham Gowdin-Pearson asked about broadband and also about the £300,000 grant and how that would be spent. The answer was the developers were looking at options that include making the properties off-grid as far as energy was concerned. Electric car charging points were a possibility but were not definite. Cllr Graham Gowdin-Pearson asked for the developers to look into the issue.

There will be a minimal cost to residents for the upkeep of the estate although Stonewater hope the council will take on that responsibility of the private road at some stage in the future. Cllr Mike Taylor noted that two of the homes had access directly onto Cheddar Road and wondered if that might encourage extra parking on the road.

Cllr Pauline Ham asked about bike sheds as potentially children could cycle to school in Cheddar and would need a safe lock up. Although there was no sheds in the plans there would be hoops to lock bikes to in the open – but the answer was that householders could put a garden shed in their gardens.

The development features two, three and four bedroom homes and they all had provision for parking for more than one car while some extra spaces were available for visitors. This aspect most exercised several questioners.

Other points were the urgent requirement of local people to register on the website which Duncan Harvey said took time but was essential to be on the list. He said Stonewater will try to match people with the right property through a bidding process but those with the strongest local connection will be prioritised. For shared ownership homes applicants must have the finances to buy.

Full details of the plans can be seen on the Sedgemoor planning portal number: 02/19/00021/DT. Residents have until January 23, 2020, to make comments. The plans now go to the next stage of the process.

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